Monday, May 26, 2008

Arena golf

While waiting for the Celtics game, I'm watching a bit of Arena Football. What a strange, strange, game. Football is unsuitable for such a small playing surface, but equal parts desperation and imagination make it...almost work. Which makes me wonder why other sports don't follow this model. Perhaps cricket could work..I don't really know. Don't know anything about cricket except that it's weird and takes forever to play. I used to watch the BBC News, and I could never understood the cricket scores: "Wickedonshire has 130 in 15 with 12 overs and 4 runs, while Sheffordtindon has 170 in 8 with 5 and 10". I could never tell who was winning.

But what about Arena Golf?

Let me be clear: not mini golf. No windmills and bumpers (though nets could be necessary). There will be putters, but this is no putt-putt. Figure that an NHL rink is about 216 feet from corner to corner. So if we take down some front row seats, we can max out pin-to-hole distance to 220 feet or 73 yards. Work with me here...they said arena football wouldn't work either.

Rule one: Nothing above a nine iron.

This will have to be a finesse accuracy game. No driving for show's precision. Now, we'll have to put up nets to protect the shlubs, but let's penalize anybody for hitting them.

Rule two: The nets are out of bounds. No penalty per se, but hitting them will cause the ball to drop into a gutter-like trough that lines the play area. A de facto stroke penalty.

To continue maxing up the accuracy portion, we'll have lots of hazards. Water and sand, for sure. But here's my idea: bring piecemeal astroturf, water, and sand bunkers all mounted on lockable wheeled platforms, each a 20ft by 20ft area. For each round, every "arena golfer" plays the hole (or we could have team play), then workers maneuver the turf and bunkers into new configurations between holes -- similar to a block puzzle. The tee isn't on a platform, demanding a high arcing shot rather than a drive. During the re-configuration of the platforms, we can have putting contests off to the side or something.

The golfers don't know the configuration ahead of time, for more of a challenge. Play eight holes or nine holes per match, then off to the next city. Each city that provides a squad hosts two competitions.

Could make golf more popular in Alaska, and give the junkies a fix over the winter...

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